We love Christmas lights. Even if you don’t have us install the lights for you, we are happy to help with questions for all the do-it-yourselfers out there. Here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind when installing your own lights.  

 
 

Safety

Christmas is not so cool when you obligate your family to visit you in the hospital.  Keep these items in mind:

  • Use a good ladder free of defect.  When you set up your ladder make sure it has a good footing.  Use a ladder buddy which makes resting ladder against house a lot more stable and safe.  
  • Don’t install lights on trees near or adjacent power lines.
  • Don’t stand on a roof greater than a 20 degree pitch with out a safty harness and an experienced helper holding the anchored rope on the other side of the house.  Check out this link for more information using a safty harness.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNsGtwC82XI

Installing the Lights

  • Always use water resistant lights with a tag marked underwriters lab.  This ensures the lights have been tested for outdoor use.
  • Use clips which are plastic, not conducive to electricity and are not evasive in the attachment of your home.  Using staples and other metal fasteners can risk damaging the wire and damaging your trim on your house.  
  • Get creative when installing the mini lights.  It makes for a georgeous presentation to tightly wrap individual branches.  If you wrap individual branches of a tree, it really makes a tree stand out.  Or if you have a few larger trees in your front yard, wrap the trucks 10 tall.  When you are wrapping, space each loop 1-3 inches apart depending upon how illuminated you want that tree to be.  
  • When installing the lights on the house, think about different light patterns.  You can do clear or opaque.  One of my favorite patters is the Red and White Opaque.

 

Electrical Capacities

  • An 18 gauge wire can support the electrical current of approximately 120 C9 incandescent bulbs (7 watt bulbs).  If you put more than 120 C9 bulbs on an 18 gauge wire, it can melt off the plastic coating and cause a fire (this is a bad thing).
  • Most circuits in your house will be a 15 amp circuit or a 20 amp circuit which can support 200 C9 bulbs and 270 C9 bulbs (using 7 watt bulbs).  The light bulbs will have the wattage labeled.  

EXAPMLE:  If your light display has 250 bulbs at 7 watts each and you have a 20 amp breaker, then you can run 2 strands of 125 lights in the same outlet or curciut.  If you had 300 bulbs in your display, you would need to use more than 1 curcuit.  

Note:  There are often more than one outlet on one circuit, so you will need to ensureyou find a separate circuit if your wattage requipments exceed the allowable capacities.  If you put too many lights on one circuit, your breaker will trip.  Because there are often more than 1 outlet per circuit, if you plug something else into the same circuit that is maximized, then you can risk tripping the breaker.  This happens sometimes when you add yard onaments that seemingly does not draw a lot of electricity, but consequently over loads the circuit.  

  • For mini lights, you can install 6 strands end to end before they begin to blow fuses.  You can install up to 80 stands of 50 mini lights on one circuit.

Timers

  • Timers are a very important component of your display.  There are several models and from experience, the photo cell timers are not always the best choice.  Sometimes when you hide a timer under a bush or back in the corner of your patio, there is not sufficient light to keep the lights turned off.  When you pick a timer, make sure its rated for outsite if you will be setting up outside.  I recommend buying a higher quality one which would be around $20 so you will have a good product for several years.